arma-, armaka 'ruined site'

Erik Seldeslachts erik.seldeslachts at RUG.AC.BE
Wed Apr 1 13:00:58 UTC 1998

> On Tue, 31 Mar 1998, N. Ganesan wrote:
> > Reading an article by Prof. Thomas Burrow on Aryans intruding
> > into India. Reference: Arthur Cotterell, Encyclopaedia of
> > ancient civilizations, 1980
> >
> > "The Aryans were aware of the numerous ruined Indus sites
> > among which they lived, and they referred to them by the term
> > arma, armaka, 'ruined site, ruins'. Among the references to these
> > the following is of particular significance: *The people to
> > whom these ruined sites, lacking posts, formerly belonged,
> > these many settlements widely distributed. they, O, Vaishvaanara,
> > having been expelled by thee, having migrated to another
> > land*."  - T. Burrow
> >
> > What is the verse number in Rig Veda of the above?
> > When the ecological balance and balance of power in the
> > pre-aryan society turned against the indus valley people,
> > Aryans established. This verse appears to be referencing
> > that critical event.
> >
> > Regards,
> > N. Ganesan

It is difficult to see how this can be taken as a proof of a pre-Aryan urbanised
culture being followed by Aryans without cities but living among ruins. It is just an
indication of population shifts caused by major geological shifts, nothing more. It
does not say whether these ruins were relatively recent in Vedic times or quite
ancient; it doesn't say that the Aryans themselves did not live in cities or that the
former inhabitants of the ruined sites were not Aryans themselves. In Strabo,
Geography 15.1.19, there is a parallel piece of information - drawn from
Aristoboulos, a companion of Alexander -, which puts into perspective the quotations
"He says that when he was sent upon a certain mission he saw a country of more than a
thousand cities, together with villages, that had been deserted because the Indus had
abandoned its proper bed, and had turned aside into the other bed on the left that
was much deeper, and flowed with precipitous descent like a cataract, so that the
Indus no longer watered by its overflows the abandoned country on the right, since
that country was now above the level, not only of the new stream, but also of its

Erik Seldeslachts
Universiteit Gent
Gent, Belgium

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